Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao) with Asian-Style Pulled Pork and Slaw

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I’m always trying to recreate delicious, authentic ethnic meals in my kitchen. My family and I went to China several years ago and we immediately fell in love with the people and their food. For us, we loved being able to experience the ‘Real Deal’ and not just another takeout place found on America’s street corner. Don’t get me wrong, those places can have amazing food, but there is something different when you’re eating Chinese food in China. And of course, Chinese steamed buns or Bao topped our list of favorites! 

I don’t know why it took me so long to recreate that once in a lifetime food experience. I think I was intimidated by the steamer. Or my lack of one. But after a quick trip to the Asian market I remmedied that obstacle. I quickly set to creating an authentic Chinese experience in my home kitchen that mirrored the actual experience we had all those years ago.  And now I’m ready to share this taste of China with you. I hope you love it as much as we do.

(Keep scrolling after the recipes for a peek at a few photos from our trip)

Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Asian Style Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Asian Style Pulled Pork

This fall-apart Asian-style pulled pork is a deliciously versatile dish you can enjoy over rice, on noodle bowls, in salads, or sandwiches.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4-lb pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or cooking wine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 inch piece ginger, sliced into sticks
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly pat dry the pork with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Add oil to a skillet large enough to sear the pork shoulder.
  3. Add the pork. Cook until all sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the browned pork to a slow cooker.
  5. Add the water and the remaining ingredients to a separate bowl. Whisk to combine and pour over the pork into the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on low for about 8 hours or until pork is easily shredable.
  7. Remove pork to a baking tray or pan and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Using 2 forks, shred the pork and transfer into a serving bowl.
  9. If desired, drizzle a little of the cooking liquid to the shredded pork for extra flavor.

 Serve hot with Asian coleslaw and steamed buns.

Yield: 6 servings

Asian Style Slaw

Asian Style Slaw

Crunchy and tangy, this slaw is perfect to pair with our Asian Style Pulled Pork.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Slaw

  • 4 cups sliced purple cabbage or 4 cups coleslaw mix
  • 1 carrot, sliced into matchstick strips
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

For the Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the purple cabbage, carrot, green onion and cilantro in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing on the veggies and toss to mix well. 
Yield: 12 Buns

Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao)

Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao)

These bao buns are quite possibly the best thing ever. Pillowy and soft, they are so versatile and surprisingly easy to make.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp lard or vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the yeast and 1 cup lukewarm water. Set aside until small bubbles begin to form, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the lard to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Pour in the yeast mixture and continue to mix on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms. (8-10 minutes).
  5. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and knead with your hands a few times.
  7. Using a knife, divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each of these pieces into a ball and place on a floured tray.   With cling film, keep the balls of dough covered until they are ready to be rolled out.
  8. Roll a bun into an oval shape, place a cut square of baking paper on half of the oval and fold the other half over sandwiching the paper in between the two halves of dough.
  9. Repeat with all 12 pieces.
  10. Place bamboo steamer (or a wire rack covered with a bowl) over a pan of boiling water. Line it with baking paper and steam the buns for 5 minutes.
  11. Repeat until they are all cooked.

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